7 Dec 2012



Gwenni Morgan is not like any other girl in her small Welsh town. Inquisitive, bookish and full of spirit, she can fly in her sleep and loves playing detective. So when a neighbour mysteriously vanishes, and no one seems to be asking the right questions, Gwenni decides to conduct her own investigation.
......Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): I fly in my sleep every night.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 200): I gather our coats up and we walk down the aisle and up the steps to go through the door into the vestry, which is full of plates of food and women dressed in black. It's as if the crows have left their nests in the castle and flown here and all started croaking at the same time.

MY THOUGHTS: An average, enjoyable enough read that sadly failed to live up to my expectations.

Starting off quite well, I was hoping that this was going to be like a Welsh version of Alan Bradley's The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie (see my review HERE) and given the cast of eccentric characters and Gwenni's keen observations of people and situations it was, BUT ultimately it fell well short of the amateur detective story I was expecting.

A debut novel by Mari Strachan (A Waterstone's New Voice 2009 and an Amazon Rising Star 2009), what may have been lacking on the detective side of the story was more than made up for by the authors vivid observations of life in a 1950's Welsh village, her portrayal of a young girl on the brink of adolescence.

Interesting that the topic of mental illness was dealt with, even if it was in a none too obvious way that made it suitable for older teenagers, I thought Gwenni's mother was the strongest written character, her story fascinating reading. 

Hoping for a more conclusive ending, I couldn't help but feel it felt a little unfinished, a little bit flat but that said I am eager to read the author's next offering.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: A reading group read, I won't be buying a copy of this.


Mary (Bookfan) said...

I love the title. Even though this book didn't deliver as you hoped it would, it says a lot that you want to read more from the author.

Short Poems said...

title, thanks Trace for the review :)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I love the title, but maybe they should have change it to b natural? That way it wouldn't have been so "flat" for you. :)

Veens said...

I loved "The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie ". It is sad it did not live upto the expectations though.

I like the quotes you mention and love the blog design (it is been awhile since I visited)

Kelly said...

I love the Flavia books, too, and this does sound like a take off on those. I'm sorry it wasn't as good, though.

The Golden Eagle said...

I really like the title of the book--but it's too bad it wasn't as good as it could have been.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I love the title and the cover- it is very eye-catching. Sorry the book didn't live up to your expectations. I bet your book club discussion will be interesting.

veens said...

I love that title and cover :) I am not sure if I would want to read it though.

GMR said...

Hmm, the title had my attention as did the cover but I admit, I was hooked when I read the synopsis. Your review makes several good points though...perhaps going INTO the read knowing those bits would make it more enjoyable? *adds to wish list* Thanks for sharing!